Same bike, but different colors. 2021 for Alex Marquez will be the transition from the official Honda team to Lucio Cecchinello’s satellite team. A decision made even before the start of the season, in which Alex surprised everyone by managing to get on the podium twice. The only Honda rider to do so.
Results for which he would have theoretically deserved a confirmation on the field, but the decision had already been made. Marquez – who spoke after the presentation of Honda's sports programs for 2021 – did not, however, want to enter into controversy.
“I really understand what situation Honda ended up in. Contracts are given even quicker in the MotoGP, and Covid has made everything more difficult,” he explained. “When they made that decision, I knew everything was normal. In the end, my contract with them won’t change, and I don’t think I’ll take a step back. If anything, one to the side. In LCR, I’ll be able to have the experience that I’m still missing and I’m happy. As crew chief, I’ll have Beefy, and everyone talks about him well, while my telemetrist will be David Garcia, with whom I have already worked in Moto2. I already know all the technicians. One lives ten minutes from my house, and I think that, in a satellite team, I’ll have less pressure, and this will help me in my growth process.”
Nakagami will be at his side and no longer his brother Marc, with whom he was able to share the garage for only one Grand Prix in the end. The question is whether he can beat him.
“I don’t know if I’ll be able to do it. He’s the best rider. In recent years, he’s always been one step ahead of everyone. I’ve always said it: ‘If he had also been on the track at Aragon, I wouldn’t have been second but third’,” he admitted. “Many say we’re very different in riding and, actually, it looks like that on TV. He’s more aggressive and I’m calmer. However, if you look at the data, you discover that we’re quite similar.”
Alex explained several times that the turning point of his season was the test at Misano between the two races.
“At that moment, I tended towards Mark’s style,” he specified. “I modified the bike so that it was quicker in closing corners, even if it became more critical when entering. It took confidence to take that step, but it was a breath of fresh air.”
We saw the results with the podiums at Le Mans and Aragon.
“It was a result that the whole team needed, in a difficult moment after what had happened to Marc,” he continued. “I think it was a positive season, especially the second part. I’m just sorry not to have been able to try the MotoGP on all the tracks of the normal calendar.”
Maybe you’ll succeed in 2021, but what do you expect from next season?
“I’m not ready to fight for the title yet,” he said, playing it safe. “I’m not at that level yet. My goal is to improve and be more constant, to be able to stay in the top ten or eight in all races. We also need to develop the bike. The priority is to be able to take advantage the power of the engine. This year we were losing in acceleration in some tracks. We have to take advantage of all the potential. For the rest, I’m happy.”